Archive for the ‘Reviewed – Good Performers’ Category

To compliment a standard light meter, which does a fine job collecting illuminance information, I sought a low cost solution to evaluation of color data, specifically CCT, spectral power distribution and CRI. My goal was to find a product under $2,000, that could be calibrated, that would deliver me color information simply and without a large amount of special technical effort. I found that in the Mightex CCD Spectrometer. At a base price under $1,700, it fit the budget nicely. Of course I added a few accessories to it, and paid them to calibrate the meter with a fiber optic mounted cosine sensor, which increased the total invoice to a touch beyond the $2,000 target… However, in the end, I found the results to be exactly what I was looking for – almost. (more…)

This is going to be a quick one. First of all, no matter what other meters one might own, the basic illuminance meter, with its readout in Lux or Fc remains an essential. You pull it out, press a button, get a number. The issue is with the latest generation of LED fixtures and retrofit lamps. They present a somewhat skewed spectral balance that can cause issues with older meters. For example, my trusty old (very very old) Minolta Color Meter II shows all LED sources as being roughly 200 CCT cooler than they actually are, sometimes, sometimes not. My other old trusty bag filler is a Minolta T-1H, which is great under daylight and tungsten sources, but not so good under LEDs, where  readings are off about 12% most of the time, and when exposed to LEDs with any flicker in them – the meter has a hard time finding a reading to settle on. I also have a Testo 540 digital ligth meter, which is an excellent in-the-pocket device, as it is very slim and includes a cover for the light sensor. At a cost of under $140, they are hard to beat for a simple tag-along meter for general illuminance measurement. (more…)


Light meters are an essential tool for anyone involved in the lighting profession. The human eye lies to us with its unique capacity to invisibly correct for brightness variations, while the brain fills in missing pieces and compensates for color variations. For professionals, it is important to see through this biological variability to understand what we are actually looking at. One might ask why, if observers are compensating so readily, is it necessary to have objective understanding? These are the five reasons I feel having sufficient light metering is a critical tool for lighting professionals: (more…)

Using the Acriche 120VA LED and proprietary reflector/heat sink integration, Moles has developed a very nice pair of modules for installation in simple lighting products. Lumenique, LLC provided consulting services to the company for design definition and market strategy, so it’s difficult to be completely objective on this. However, after having a couple prototypes to play with, and being part of the team, I can say these modules definitely have a place in the market. With excellent optical efficiency (82% for the reflector unit), 900 center beam candella for the 15 degree spot, performance is very good for 4.5 watts. These modules plug directly into GU25 sockets, and require no drivers or power supplies. The is a great opportunity for manufacturers who don’t want to mess with all the electronics, optics, and thermal engineering, and are ideal for retrofitting into existing incandescent or fluorescent products.


Visit the Molex site for complete details, and the exclusive distribution agreement with Leviton to bring these products to market! Molex SSL Site


A 120V AC LED may be a good choice where power supply and driver cost and component complexity is an issue.

An LED that runs from 120V AC (o0r 240VAC) is an inciting item in the solid-state low voltage DC universe. No driver, no transformer. Just plug it into the house current and let ‘er rip! Available in 2W 65l  (3000K) / 80l (6300K) and 4W 150l (3000K) to 195l (6300K) versions, these devices are fairly powerful and generate good efficacy (between 32 and 40 lumens per watt), not bad, considering there are no other power losses involved from voltage conversion and driver/conditioning. This is roughly the performance of a 50l/w 24VDC CC device operated from a balanced and high efficiency driver/power supply. Not bad.

Color rendering index is 70. At the low end of the good range, and is caused by a weakness in the red end of the spectral distribution. Further, the peak power is virtually right on top of the 575-600 nm of photopic vision.  The result is that the 3000K light looks a bit “White” and less “warm” than one might expect.

To put these to the test, I retrofitted a pendant (in my office) (more…)

Post Ratchet LED Task Light

Post Ratchet LED Task Light

This is my very first functional LED task light, completed at the end of 2005. Construction is welded steel. Originally, the main components of this fixture (2004) were designed for a 12V/20W Halogen bi-pin lamp that created an overheating of the lighting head and poor light output. This was changed to (12) 1/2W Nichia HB LEDs (2800k) mounted to PC board with through hole thermal connection to the heat sink, as an experiment and proof of concept for the application of LEDs to provide greater light output for the same or less energy. Light on the task surface was either 70FC or 150FC, with a very wide distribution, as there is no secondary optical control. An aluminum heat sink inside the lighting head maintains reasonable operating conditions for the LEDs (under 60C TJ), while remaining cool to the touch. The horizontal arm ratchets up and down, the red arches are fiberglass springs that tension the ratchet. The parallel link on the head and arm keep the head level when it is adjusted up and down. (more…)

For screw-based retrofit applications, this lamp and remote make color changing painless.

For screw-based retrofit applications, this lamp and remote make color changing painless.

This is a solid-state product that delivers color changing modes, fixed color modes, remote control and acceptable brightness in a simple screw-in package. The lamp contains the logic and costs about $60, while the remote is less than $20. The remote can control several lamps, so their is only a need for one per application. We selected the narrow 30 degree beam pattern for a test application. A wider 60 degree beam pattern is available.

The size of the lamp unit is compact, roughly the scale of a PAR20 halogen lamp. At 5 watts power consumption, and relatively low light output, this is less about energy than it is about fun and adding some color using existing luminaires. (more…)

Renaissance Lighting has one of the most attractive LED downlights on the market today.

The deep reflector, invisible LEDs, and excellent optical mixing set this downlight apart from all others.

The deep reflector, invisible LEDs, and excellent optical mixing set this downlight apart from all others.

Renaissance utilizes a patented optical design that locates the LEDs in a ring array around the perimeter of an optical mixing chamber (dome). This unique approach has several intriguing advantages. First, in RGB color applications, the light from the LEDs is blended thoroughly before exiting the optic aperture, where it is directed by the lower reflector component. The result is no pixelation from  LEDs and a very usable downlight distribution with both reasonable focus, zero glare, and excellent cutoff control. (more…)